Dating Abroad (국제 데이팅): Misperceptions & Assumptions – Part 10

Being in a LDR and international relationship this past year I have come across a wide array of individuals who carry many misperceptions and assumptions about what dating in a LDR and international relationship is really like. I thought it might be great to delve into some of these opinions and speak on what’s true and what’s false.

To start I would like to state that my relationship started out as a regular relationship and not a LDR since me and my boyfriend technically lived in the same city area and constantly saw each other weekly. However, due to work along with my return to the states we entered into a LDR with hopes to close the distance when we are both financially stable. Similar to me and my boyfriend many other regular relationships can turn into LDRs because of work, family, school, etc. However, unlike me and my boyfriend some other LDR couples begin their relationship as an LDR without experiencing a regular relationship prior. In comparing the two LDR pathways some people might think that starting an LDR might be inappropriate for a couple due to creating an open vacuum of uncertainty in the lives of the each person. This misperception, however, is 50-50.

Based on my personal experience in two relationships(*a former and current) I have come to understand that age can influence foresight, especially when a relationship has just begun and the couple are becoming more acquainted.  Though the future may be unwritten for the couple, the groundwork for a strong relationship is laid down early on. Like any relationship the groundwork must be continued and constantly worked on even when the couple is apart. Having groundwork plans, ideas, shared hopes & dreams, early on in a relationship will remove whatever uncertainty each individual might have. Personally, learning from previous experience I focused on shared wants at the beginning of my current relationship because I believed that having common  values were most important for eliminating uncertainty.

Korea University – Business School Square – Fall 2014

LDR relationships are timed. This misperception is true. All LDR relationships are timed. However, LDR relationships do not all end on a fixed time just like they do not all start at a fixed moment. This is because of life. LDRs are one of life’s hurdles for lovers who ~ meet by chance in the street, in school, at a social event, or even on vacation abroad. Some might not even meet in-person at first, but through online dating accounts, RPG game chat rooms, or via phone dating apps. However a future LDR couple meets happens on a whim.  When explaining these facts in detail outside viewers can understand that LDRs do not simply manifest in thin air. Yet more misperceptions and assumptions still remain.

Those outside of a LDR hold a somewhat high assumption that LDRs come to an end when one individual in the relationship forfeits their “other life” (i.e. life overseas, life in another city, life in another state) in order to finally be together with the one they love. This, is true, but this is also an assumption. I hesitate to only say that this is true without giving underlining reasons for why. For one thing, it is true logistically speaking that the basic way to end an LDR is to have one or the other partner relocate to the same city/town location.  In the modern world that we live in one can try to relocate and not sacrifice their career, by inquiring about working remotely in a different location, or simply working at home. However, not everyone is so fortunate.

Giving up and deciding to leave ones “other life” is a life-changing decision to make. Many LDRs, especially international LDRs, must overcome different time zones, different countries, different lifestyles, different customs, different rules, etc. as they come to a decision on what is the best course of action to take for closing the distance. For anyone, giving up one’s current life is not an easy decision to make; and is a tough decision to make whether one is in a LDR or not.

Looking beyond the losses and instead looking forward to a better happier lifestyle is the  ultimate goal of LDR couples, which some outside viewers often forget or maybe fail to see. During break periods with some co-workers I have openly discussed LDR relationships because of continued misperceived views on the how LDRs and more specifically international LDRs function when couples are miles apart. In these discussions topics ranging from giving up ones life, fixed dates, culture clashes, family views, etc. have come up and each and every time I would speak about the pros and cons of a LDR and international relationship. Acknowledging and discussing the pros and cons to such relationships provided a more well-rounded perspective for my co-workers in regards to the hurdles that such individuals  like myself face (i.e. living apart, adapting to new cultures, etc.)

As woman you must sacrifice more. This is a false and sadly pre-modern day view of LDR relationships and a woman’s freedom. Like my mother and my sister, I have found love and have not made any sacrifices that were not of my choosing because I possess my own freedom to decide as do all women now born in the 20th/21st century. As a young woman I have learned that while I might meet someone in life who has promised under God to protect me from harm, provide me with food, or nurse me from sickness I ultimately will be the one to decide what is best for me, and make the final decision. This is my own belief. However, I am fully aware that each woman possesses her own beliefs and views. With that said some women may sacrifice more within a LDR or international relationship.

In my relationship, individual sacrifices are made with the best views in mind at the time(*in my case me and my boyfriend re-locating for work or residing in a different country). Though these sacrifices may seem to lengthen or even widen our LDR they were made to help us reach our own fixed end time. Still supporting one another through our continued groundwork plans, ideas, shared hopes & dreams we both mutually work on achieving a good, decent, and happy lifestyle for ourselves, like any other LDR couple.

Sometimes I wonder why so many misperceptions and assumptions exist about LDR couples. Sometimes I wonder if such misperceptions and assumptions I have just discussed will cease.  But, only time will tell if those misinformed are able to learn through first-hand and personal experiences about what a LDR or international relationship is really like. Maybe then will discussions be more supportive of LDRs, especially discussions about leaving ones “other life.”

LDRs and international relationships are relationships first and foremost. The only distinctive difference between a LDR and a regular relationship is the distance between the two individuals for a lengthy or undetermined amount of time. International relationships like regular relationships start out cloudy and take time to form, however, they too possess individuals who have shared hopes & dreams. Yet misperceptions and assumptions still arise, as outside viewers look on to a unique lifestyle they do not fully understand.

To help spread some light on LDR and international relationship misperceptions and assumptions I have created a short list of a few true and false things I have heard, read, or discussed.  Feel free to comment below or even share some more you may know yourself.

Misperceptions on LDR/ international relationships

  • outsiders who think LDRs can not work out due to lengthy distance. This is 50-50 and dependent upon if groundwork plans are present in the relationship.
  • outsiders who think LDRs are more complicated than regular dating. This is false, all relationships are complicated.
  • outsiders who think LDR couples make a wrong choice at the beginning by starting a LDR.  This is false, all LDRs happen on a whim, starting by chance or transitioning into one.
  • outsiders who think that LDRs are shaky, uncertain relationships than regular relationships.  This is 50-50, LDR relationships can be shaky or uncertain if shared hopes & dreams for the relationship are not made. LDR relationships rely more on groundwork plans early on compared to regular relationships.
  • outsiders who think all LDRs are timed relationships. This is true, however, LDR relationships do not all start or end at a fixed time. Each LDR is different, but share the same end goal.


Assumptions on LDR/ international relationships

  • outsiders who believe that one individual must forfeit their “other life” for the relationship.  This is true and false. It is an individual’s own personal choice to sacrifice or change their lives themselves. However, an individual will be making a life-changing decision ultimately for the relationship.
  • outsiders who believe that one individual must relocate to end the LDR/international relationship. This is true. Logistically speaking relocating is the basic way to end a LDR.
  • outsides who believe that females/women must be the one to move/relocate to the boyfriends/mens country. This is true and false. In pre-modern days women followed their soon-to-be spouses/husbands/ and men in their lives. However, in the century we live in world gender equality is rising and views of women following men have slightly changed. Nowadays men can equally follow their soon-to-be spouse/ wife/ or women in their lives. The freedom or choice is up to the individual themselves.
  • outsiders who think that women sacrifice more. This is a false and sadly pre-modern day view of LDR relationships and a woman’s freedom.
  • outsiders who think that couples in international relationships communicate 100% perfectly, otherwise they would not work out. This is false. Due to minimal~vast to cultural differences, culturally distinct idioms, language differences, upbringing/childhood differences, etc. communication between couples in international relationships is not 100% perfect. However, working on ways to effectively communicate is a strong focus in these relationships as it is a strong focus in regular relationships.
  • outsiders who think marriage is a quick solution to LDRs or international relationship separation. This is somewhat true. Marriage is certainly a quick solution to ending the distance in a LDR, however, marriage is a sacred ritual that not many individuals rush into. In addition, once marriage is proposed couples must work out housing, work, and even visa process matters that will arise and affect both individuals, which then makes marriage a not-so-quick or easy solution.






*Note: All  pictures posted are owned by the Yeppunshikan author, usage of these pictures without the owners consent is strictly prohibited.

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